Thu, Apr 04, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUTOMAKERS

Ghosn may see new charges

Tokyo prosecutors are preparing to build a fresh case against ousted Nissan Motor Co chairman Carlos Ghosn over suspect payments the automaker made to a business partner in Oman, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. They are in discussions with the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office and others, and plan to make a decision soon on whether to prosecute Ghosn on further charges of aggravated breach of trust, the newspaper said, citing sources involved in the case. Ghosn’s spokesman has previously said payments of US$32 million made over nine years were rewards for the Oman firm being a top Nissan dealer. Such dealer incentives were not directed by Ghosn and the funds were not used to pay any personal debt, the spokesman said. Ghosn promised to “tell the truth” at a news conference on Thursday next week, taking to Twitter to announce his first briefing since being released on bail and hours after a report that prosecutors were preparing a fresh case against him.

TRANSPORTATION

Chopper ride-sharing offered

A new start-up may have the answer for cashed-up travelers desperate to beat the gridlock in Southeast Asia’s mega cities: helicopter ride-sharing. Ascent Flights Global Pte is starting the service in the Philippines next week, and plans to expand to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia next year. The Singapore-based firm lets clients book a seat on a helicopter online for flights during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Targeting executives and luxury travelers, the choppers fly to the Makati and Taguig business districts, as well as airports in Metro Manila and Clark, Angeles. The shortest flight between the two business districts cuts travel time from half an hour to 3 minutes, with seats going for 6,900 pesos (US$133) each. The longest flight between the two airports would cost 25,900 pesos for a 30-minute trip that would usually take three hours by road.

UNITED KINGDOM

Services contract in March

The services sector contracted last month for the first time in more than two-and-a-haf years as Brexit turmoil prompted companies and households to hold back spending. IHS Markit’s purchasing managers index dropped to 48.9 from 51.3 in February. A modest slowdown to 50.9 had been forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The slide indicates that the economy shrank last month and stalled over the first quarter, with a risk that the slump deepens in the coming months, Markit said. Both services and construction are in decline, while manufacturing was buoyed by stockpiling, limiting the drop in the composite gauge to 50. New orders deteriorated for a third month, the longest fall in sales volumes since 2009. Export demand was especially weak.

CURRENCIES

Bitcoin hits fresh high

Bitcoin yesterday climbed to a fresh high this year, building on a spike yesterday that many market participants struggled to explain. It increased as much as 5.9 percent to US$5,087.54 at 9:47am in London, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Rivals coins, including Bitcoin Cash and Ether, also advanced. With the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index up more than 70 percent from its low during the depths of last year’s crash, the debate over whether virtual currency prices have bottomed is heating up. Crypto diehards see the surge as confirmation that a new bull market has begun, while bears argue that entrenched skepticism among regulators, institutional investors and consumers would make any rally temporary.

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